PSG Member Steven R Hill, who participated at the 6th annual Zion National Park Plein Air Painting Invitational (Nov. 2-10) was honored with a major purchase and cash award for his painting titled “Soft Glow” done in Zion Canyon, November 5.
The painting was purchased by the park to become part of their permanent art collection, as the “Superintendent of Zion National Park Purchase Award” where it will reside. The modern collection at Zion houses works from former artists’ in residents at the park, and other past award winners & Zion artists, including Maynard Dixon, Jim Jones, Suze Woolf (Seattle artist), John Cogan, Cody Delong, Gloria Miller Allen, and others. This was Hill’s second consecutive invitation to the annual Zion event.
The formation of our major national parks, like Zion and Yellowstone, relied heavily on the works of earlier artists, like the iconic English born U.S. painter, Thomas Moran, (1837-1926) who firmly established a new sense of “Nationalism”, together with noted era painters (most from the Hudson River School, who later became known as members of The Rocky Mountain School) like Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, William Keith and many others. All were drawn out west by the “virtual unknown of its extent and what might be out there” during the Post-revolutionary American War era. They were eager to show the rest of the world that America was here to stay and their grand scale paintings (most made from watercolor sketches) helped re-define the American landscape and gave the world a much better idea of what we looked like from the inside out.
To celebrate this historic feat, Zion National Park and Natural History association, invites and hosts 24 landscape painters from across America to work for one week “In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran” and it is the park’s single largest annual event. Hundreds of art collectors from around the country converge at the exhibit’s opening to buy paintings created en plein air during the week. The whole event is run by park staff and volunteers. Artwork sales this year eclipsed last year’s record, with well over $160,000 paintings sold in 3 days. 40% of all sales go directly to the park’s youth education program.
Park Superintendent, Jeffrey Bradybaugh, said: “I was particularly impressed with Hill’s use of the human figure in his painting, which catches 3 hikers in the mid-ground, reflected in the river . . . and gives a great sense of scale to the distant canyon walls. It’s what this park is all about – the interaction of people getting out here and truly enjoying the canyon lands.”
Hill exhibits his work in the San Juan Islands at Crow Valley Gallery (Orcas Island), Windswept Fine Art Gallery, (Lopez Island) Art on the Boulevard, Vancouver, WA, Split Rock Fine Art Gallery, St. George, Utah and Silver Queen Fine Art Gallery, Park City, Utah. He also teaches annual plein air painting workshops at Dakota Art Workshops in Mt. Vernon, WA and overseas. Visit his website: www.windsweptstudios.com